What does the word Bella mean to you?
Literally -- beautiful, but not just referring to external beauty. More so the beautiful light that shines from within us, that energy source that is curiously magnetic, that "je ne sais quoi" that makes each of us unique.
Tell us what you do for work? What is your background?
My background is in graphic design and visual merchandising but those skills have lead me to a more social media based creative platform. I did window displays for brands like Anthropologie and Michael Kors before departing from the grind to take up travel and wardrobe styling. It was a bold move that has proved so fulfilling, my styling slowly evolved into a blog that also documents my surfing adventures and personal style. I'm now collaborating with some of my favorite brands producing travel, fashion and lifestyle content, and writing for blogs and online publications.
You have such a healthy view on social media. Can you share how it has helped shape your career and how you maintain balance in this area?
We are all one. Just ask Bill Nye the Science guy -- we're all made of the same stardust :) So I have always tried to approach social media without jealousy or envy, judgement or self loathing, but it has taken a lot of practice. The experience someone else enjoys, by sharing it, allows me to enjoy it with them. We each have been given a very unique point of view and should we choose to share it, can actually bring us all closer together: physically through meet ups and collaborations, and emotionally through revealing of vulnerabilities. We are all just messengers of divine spirit, with creativity being the universal language of delivery. It has so much less to do with us than we think and more to do with a divine purpose we are meant share. If we can surrender to that fact, it can set us free to be ourselves, encourage the act of sharing what we know and love, and acknowledge the power of connection through such a public platform.
What do you love about traveling? What are some of your favorite destinations?
I love the unexpected, the unknown. Testing my boundaries and limitations...how will I react when everything goes wrong? (And trust me..it always does). Those are the moments I truly find myself -- usually in a place I've never been.
All of the places I've been are my favorite! But as of late, Sri Lanka and Cuba were both some of the most intensely beautiful places I've ever been, confronting being the main theme; whether for cultural or political reasons. In contrast, Samoa was pristine and as cruisey at it comes, with locals as sweet as the pineapple served, forcing you to let go of all worries and move at a pace that allows you to appreciate each moment.
What are your travel essentials?
A good wide brim hat! (Or two..My mom used to say it wasn't an adventure without wearing a hat..)
Beach blanket, good book, surfboard, ukulele, journal, tons of bikinis, denim, ripped tee, a kimono, comfy/cute boots and my tarot cards. I rarely leave the house without all of those things much less a journey abroad!
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their careers, unsure of their path?
Follow your gut. If something doesn't feel right, assess. But don't act without a plan. Set yourself up for success. Have a goal and figure out what the steps are to achieve it. Use a planner, look at a calendar, and lay out those steps, imagining where you see yourself in 3-6 months, a year, five years. Most importantly, write it down! I will never forget the moment I flew to Bali for the first time and wrote "wardrobe stylist" in the occupation line of my customs form. I had only assisted one shoot in my whole career at that point. But I knew i had to say it aloud in order for me to believe it and to have the confidence to convince others of my skills. I landed my first gig almost immediately after that.
What are your passions in life?
Family, friends, surfing, nature, travel, being creative, music, good, clean food.
What do you love about surfing?
Surfing is the merging with the Divine as its manifest within nature -- specifically the ocean. Long boarding especially is graceful and feminine where style reigns supreme. As a Pisces I've always found peace within the waves, they serve as a playground that satiates my inner child's need for pure, unadulterated fun. At times when the waves get big and I'm hesitant to paddle out, it's an opportunity to work past my fears and surprise myself. It's a true soul connection.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
Wake up early, somewhere exotic in nature, and watch the sunrise, enjoying a 20 minute quiet sit and listening to the world wake up. Stretch, have a fresh cup of coffee and go check the waves, enjoying the little things of a new place seen with a new set of eyes. Paddle out with friends for a sunny surf and throw on something flowy and fun, then cook up a yummy breakfast. Afternoon skates or nature hikes are the best, followed by an evening of writing in my journal, playing ukulele as the sun goes down and reading a book with a glass of red wine.
What is most important to you in life?
Being someone the little girl version of myself would respect and admire, being kind to all living beings, following my truth, and always challenging myself to grow as a person.
What makes somebody beautiful?
Compassion, insight, confidence, and the ability to laugh and enjoy themselves.
What do you love about festivals, and what are your favorite festivals?
Festivals are an opportunity for everyone to let their hair down and go wild, dance all day and all night and let their freak flag fly high. I love Byron Bay Blues and Roots Fest because it's a family affair with all walks of life, an eclectic line up and right down the road from some of my favorite waves!
What makes the perfect festival outfit?
Whatever expresses yourself in the most organic sense! Don't follow trends or dress how you think you should, wear what makes you wanna dance and let loose!
You have such a positive outlook on life, what helps you maintain optimism through all of life's ups and downs?